Last week, Skepta shared an Instagram photo of a new Wiley shirt with the caption "Icon Status. @grimetees." The shirt, produced by a London company called Grime Tees, situates the Godfather of grime within a style directly reminiscent of the iconic hip-hop cover art from Houston design firm Pen & Pixel. It's the only design in their store so far, but we're excited to see where things go.
Grime Tees are keeping things close to the chest for now – they declined to answer specific questions about who they are and their plans for future designs – but they copped to the Pen & Pixel influence without hesitation. "Pen & Pixel designs and '90s rap merch are very O.G. things that we've grown up with, as well as grime and garage," the company told The FADER over email. "We thought something that pays homage to grime in that '90s style would be hard."
They said that the crossover between American style and British music is a natural result of grime's growing global acceptance: "Grime represents our part of the world and it's infiltrating other countries." Wiley might be skeptical that audiences stateside will ever accept grime, but putting his image in a style that's so distinctly classic American rap is a step toward erasing the borders that can keep grime from crossing over.
Pick up the Wiley Godfather shirt at the Grime Tees store here.